Justice William W. Goodrich was born on August 23, 1833 in Havana, NY. He graduated from Amherst College in 1852 before studying at Albany Law School. He began his legal career practicing at the firm of Hill, Cagger & Porter. Goodrich was first elected to the Assembly in 1865 but was defeated in three elections for Congress. He was elected as chairman of the Republican County Committee in 1890. Additionally, as a leading authority in the field of admiralty law, he served for several years as chairman of the International Marine Conference and in 1890 recommended the establishment of a Department of Commerce to unify existing marine bureaus.
Goodrich joined the bench in 1896 when he was appointed to the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial District. Later that year, he was appointed to the Appellate Division, Second Department, where he served as Presiding Justice. He left the bench in 1903, having reached the mandatory retirement age.
Goodrich was also active in the community, holding positions including President of the Board of Trustees for the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church and the Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital and Director for the Philharmonic Society and the Apollo Club.
Goodrich had a son and two daughters. He died on November 21, 1906 in Brooklyn.
“Ex-Justice Goodrich Dead.” New York Times (1857-1922): 9. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Nov 22 1906. Web. 5 Dec. 2011 .
“Four Justices Nominated.” New York Times (1857-1922): 4. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Sep 27 1896. Web. 14 Dec. 2011 .
“Home Rule for Shipping.” New York Times (1857-1922): 10. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Oct 26 1890. Web. 27 Dec. 2011 .
“Mr. Goodrich Appointed Justice.” New York Times (1857-1922): 1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Aug 12 1896. Web. 12 Dec. 2011 .